AMD, Infineon to spend $200m on nanotech know-how

Yet another Dresden plant

AMD and Infineon are to spend €170m ($200m) to build a nanotech research facility.

According to Bloomberg, the R&D centre will be located in Dresden, Germany, probably not far from the chip fabs the two partners run there, and their jointly funded Advanced Mask Technology Centre. Local government will pump in a further €80m ($100m) into the project. All three participants will spread the cost over a five-year period.

German scientific institute the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will contribute nanotech know-how.

Such partnerships are commonplace in the chip industry these days. Such is the massive cost of developing next-generation foundation technologies, even the likes of Intel and Samsung - the world's two biggest semiconductor makers - have to share the cost with others.

Intel is working with Infineon and others on 45nm process technology, while AMD is partnering with IBM in the development of 65nm techniques.

Nanotechnology, typically utilising sub-nanometre wide tubes made from Carbon, is seen as a possible future for chip transistors as processors scale down to 45nm and beyond. Almost a year ago, Hitachi scientist figured out how to fab stable nanotube transistors, but building processors out of such materials is still a long way from commercialisation. ®

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